Police officers and sheriff’s deputies help people in crisis. The crisis though, can be a lot of things, and it includes people going through some sort of mental health or substance abuse issue. While behavioral science isn’t what law enforcement is primarily trained on, they may be the only community resource available at that time, particularly in smaller and rural agencies where staffing and resources may be lacking. In such cases, what is a small rural agency to do? Innovate! This webinar unpacks the different ways agencies throughout the United States are adapting and innovating to meet the mental health and crisis intervention needs of the communities they serve.
This sessions speakers are:
- Rob Davis, Chief Social Scientist, National Police Foundation
- Jen Zeunik, Director of Local Programs, National Police Foundation
- Melissa Reuland, Consultant, National Police Foundation; Senior Research Program Manager, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Specifics of the discussion include:
- An overview of the National Police Foundation’s mission and their work on mental health crisis response.
- The extent of the issue of law enforcement being appointed by default to respond to mental health calls that they may not be well-equipped to resolve and may potentially put their lives at risk.
- How law enforcement agencies innovated and turned to specialized and collaborative response models to best address the mental health crisis intervention issue.
- A look into Elko, Nevada’s experience when it comes to serving community members amidst a mental health crisis.
- How they manage people in crisis through partnerships and agreements with health providers.
- The challenges posed by the lack of appropriate resources within their jurisdiction, the workarounds implemented to overcome these, and ideas to resolve the obstacles they’re facing.
- The survey conducted by the National Police Foundation to better understand how smaller rural agencies are managing mental health crisis calls and how it can be further improved.
- The survey’s sampling, methodology, and the main elements studied.
- The survey’s findings in terms of the prevalence of crisis response teams, collaboration with mental health professionals, training, dispatch procedures, benefits, and drawbacks.
- Lessons learned and findings gleaned from the case study of select agencies that responded to the survey related to:
- The crisis intervention training, its benefits, and the challenges that came with it.
- The dispatch and CAD systems – and how this is used to improve response, ensure officer safety, and track repeat callers and frequent flyers.
- A look into the on-scene response in terms of policies and practices, psychiatric assessments, availability of psychiatric beds and EMS transport, and utilizing jail diversion programs.
- The value in conducting follow-ups to crisis calls.
- The keys to developing successful crisis intervention programs.
- Winthrop, Massachusetts’ promising and best practices to support individuals in crisis through:
- Partnership with neighboring major hospitals.
- The Boston Emergency Services Team that delivers 24/7 support to conduct assessments, provide resources, and set up appointments with specialists.
- A dedicated mental health professional available to community members free of charge.
- The Winthrop Community and Law Enforcement Assisted Recovery (CLEAR) Program where patrol officers conduct follow-ups during their downtime.
- NAMI Maine’s various initiatives that support their local law enforcement to strengthen the response to mental health calls and people in crisis.
Questions from the audience are about:
- More details about Winthrop Massachusetts PD’s efforts.
- Accessing the survey instrument and findings and the mix of sites in the case study.
- Requiring a release for repeat clients.
- Online referral systems from patrol vehicles directly to mental health providers.
- Definitions of regional versus in-house CIT.
- Requirements and criteria for emergency custody.
- Statistics on law enforcement interaction with people in crisis.
- Samples MOUs between agencies and emergency departments for drop-off procedures.
Other Webinars with this Organization:
- Metric Development and Data Collection with Community Partners
- Gun Violence Reduction: Solutions, Tools, and Trends
- Lessons on Compassionate Policing from Joe Smarro of the HBO Documentary Ernie & Joe
- Crisis Intervention Models in Small and Rural Agencies (this webinar)
- Jan 19: The Public Safety Implications of Ghost Guns
- March 10: Officer Safety and Wellness in Rapidly Changing Times
- June 16: Reforming the Police through Procedural Justice Training
- Aug 23: Lessons Learned from the Post-George Floyd and Capitol Protests
Resources and Handouts
- Handout: Mental Health and Law Enforcement Collaboration Resources
- Elko Case Study Video
- Winthrop Case Study Video
- NAMI Video
- Website: Transform 911
- “How local PD’s facing a lack of resources are creatively attempting to overcome a national crisis. Mental intervention services needs to become a mandatory and substantial component to health insurance coverage. This will drive an increase in the demand for mental health professionals at both educational institutions and hospitals. With that increase comes the potential resources for psychiatric and crisis intervention support for the community PD’s.” — Bart
- “I liked learning how other agencies are handling this topic. I look forward to watching the full interviews to get more ideas. Thank you!” — Angela
- “Learning different perspectives and creative ideas to help support our rural communities.” — Rosella
- “Hearing the real-world stories of people working on the front lines to make a difference with this difficult topic.” — Ryan
- “I learned that we are on the right track and maybe even further along than some of the agencies represented. Also, learned that as a department with a regional dispatch this is an important topic. It is essential to provide CIT training to dispatchers.” — Elliott
The National Police Foundation (NPF) is a non-partisan and non-membership 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to advancing the impact and delivery of police services through reforms and enhancements guided by innovation and science. For the last 50 years, the Foundation has led the development of research on all aspects of policing and leads the way in promoting and sharing evidence-based practices and innovation among law enforcement. The Foundation works with communities across the U.S. and internationally to provide research, training, and technical assistance relating to community engagement and problem solving, promoting safety and healthy organizations and officers, the reduction and prevention of violence, and equitable and fair justice for all. For more information, please visit the National Police Foundation website at www.policefoundation.org.